Sunday, July 31, 2011

maggot brain

These musical revolutionaries turned out their strangest mindfunk of all. Switching back and forth from Parliment to Funkadelic, George Clinton, Eddie Hazel, Tawl Ross, Bernie Worrell, Billy Bass Nelson, and Tiki Fulwood (with a little help from Fuzzy Haskins, Calvin Simon, Grady Thomas, and Ray Davis) made something completely unique with 'Maggot Brain' by blending heavy funk with pychedelic rock, mixed in gospel, blues, folk, country; and threw in wild sound effects, because that's the way they roll.

 'Maggot Brain'
The raw emotional quality of Eddie Hazel's slow building, mind melting, wah wah guitarwork on the amazing title track is like jazz.

"Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time, cause y'all have knocked her up."

'Can You Get To That?'

"When you base your life on credit
And your loving days are done
Checks you signed with love and kisses
Later come back signed 'insufficient funds'"

'Hit It And Quit It'

"You can shake it to the east
Shake it to the west
Hit it
Good god, hit it and quit it
You can shake it to the one you love the best"

'You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks'

"If you and your folks love me and my folks like
Me and my folks love you and your folks
If there ever was folks
That ever ever was poor"

The hip shaking 'Wars Of Armageddon' uses crying babies, cuckoo clocks, canned laughter, and bomb blasts to make its funky point.

"Look at that pollution!
It's a fat funky person"

'Maggot Brain' 
full album:

Side one
1. "Maggot Brain"   Edward Hazel, George Clinton 10:20
2. "Can You Get to That" George Clinton, Ernest Harris 2:50
3. "Hit It and Quit It" George Clinton, William Nelson 3:50
4. "You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks" George Clinton, Clarence Haskins, William Nelson, Bernard Worrell, Judie Jones 3:36
Side two
5. "Super Stupid"   Edward Hazel, Lucious Ross, William Nelson, George Clinton 3:57
6. "Back in Our Minds"   Clarence Haskins 2:38

7. "Wars of Armageddon"   Ramon Fulwood, Lucious Ross, George Clinton, Bernard Worrell 9:42

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Fifteen years ago Sublime hit the big time and the end of the road with their genre-crossing eponymous major label debut. After two albums on the independent Skunk label, the band had been signed to Gasoline Alley of MCA Records by Jon Phillips, who subsequently became the band's manager.
The album was completed before lead singer Bradley Nowell (whose tattooed back is featured on the album cover) died of a heroin overdose on May 25, 1996 at the Oceanview Motel in San Francisco. Nowell's bleak lyrics stand in contrast to the laid back grooves; yet the blend of reggae, punk, ska, and hip hop made 'Sublime' a huge success, hitting number thirteen on the album chart and eventually going five times platinum.

'What I Got' is based on Half Pint's 'Loving' and features a similar melody to the Beatles' 'Lady Madonna'. It went to number one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

"Life is too short, so love the one you got
'Cause you might get run over or you might get shot
Never start no static, I just get it off my chest
Never had to battle with no bulletproof vest
Take a small example, take a tip from me
Take all of your money, give it all to charity
Love is what I got, it's within my reach
Yeah, and the sublime style's still straight from long beach
It all comes back to you, you'll finally get what you deserve
Try and test that, you're bound to get served
Love's what I got, don't start a riot
You'll feel it when the dance gets hot"

The melody heard in 'Santeria' was a reuse of the melody from "Lincoln Highway Dub" featured on their previous album, Robbin' the Hood. It peaked at number three on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

"I don't practice Santeria
I ain't got no crystal ball
Well I had a million dollars but I, I'd spend it all
If I could find that heina and that Sancho that she'd found
Well I'd pop a cap in Sancho and I'd slap her down"

'Doin' Time' is a loose cover of the Jazz standard "Summertime" by George Gershwin. It peaked at number twenty eight on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

"Me and my girl got this relationship
I love her so bad but she treats me like shit
On lock down like a penitentiary
Spreads her lovin' all over
And when she gets home, there's none left for me"

Much of the rhythm and melody of 'Wrong Way' was borrowed from the Specials 'It's Up To You' off their 1979 self-titled album. It peaked at number three on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.

"The only family that she's ever had
Is her seven horny brothers and a drunk-ass dad
He needed money so he put her on the street
Everything was going fine until the day she met me
Happy are you sad, wanna shoot your dad
I'll do anything I can
It's the wrong way"

'April 29, 1992 (Miami)' features samples from 'La Di Da Di' by Doug E. Fresh featuring MC Ricky D (a.k.a. Slick Rick), 'Original Gangster of Hip-Hop' by Just Ice, and 'Shook One (Part 1)' by Mobb Deep.

"April 29th, 1992
There was a riot on the streets
Tell me where were you?
You were sittin' home watchin' your TV
While I was paticipating in some anarchy"

Friday, July 29, 2011

wild thing

These garage troglodytes made everything groovy with this caveman rock classic that was recorded in less than twenty minutes. 'Wild Thing' was written by Chip Taylor (AKA James Wesley Voight, the brother of actor Jon Voight). "I was on the floor laughing when I was through," Taylor says. "'Wild Thing' came out in a matter of minutes. The pauses and the hesitations are a result of not knowing what I was going to do next."

The Troggs recorded their version at London's Regent Sound studio, using time left over from a session booked for another group. Lead singer Reg Presley recalls, "We recorded 'Wild Thing' and 'With A Girl Like You' at the same session. We had about three quarters of an hour to get our gear set up for them to get a balance, then record and get out. It was at the end of a session Larry Page and his orchestra had booked. Larry was our manager and said we could have any time left over. So we recorded very fast-and for rawness, you can't whack it."

The single was released on two labels, Atco and Fontana Records. Initially, their British label Fontana was hesitant to put it out in the US; so their manager signed a distribution deal with Atco. The execs at Fontana changed their minds and released it as well. It is the only single to hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 while being offered on two different labels simultaneously.

Wild thing
You make my heart sing
You make everything...groovy
Wild thing

Wild thing, I...think I love you
But I wanna know for sure
So come on, and hold me tight
I love you

Wild thing
You make my heart sing
You make everything...groovy
Wild thing

Wild thing, I...think you move me
But I wanna know for sure
So come on, and hold me tight
You move me

Wild thing
You make my heart sing
You make everything...groovy
Wild thing

Wild thing
Come on, come on, wild thing
Shake it, shake it, wild thing

Thursday, July 28, 2011

lifes rich pageant

These noisy cats cleared the murky waters of their sound with this transitional tapestry of lush harmonies and raucous jangle-pop. After the miserable experience they had recording 'Fables Of The Reconstruction' in England with Joe Boyd, R.E.M. was ready for a change. They connected with producer Don Gehman and recorded at John Mellencamp's Belmont Mall Studios in Indiana. Michael Stipe's voice shows more confidence and projection; and the production reveals the strengths of each member of the band, especially drummer Bill Berry, whose forehead appears on the cover and whose backbeat provides the drive that characterizes 'Lifes Rich Pageant'. From the arabian flair of 'Underneath The Bunker' to the backwoods banjo that starts 'I Believe', the nuances are much easier to hear. Despite the crisper, more radio-friendly sound, the album maintained their indie mystique with its artsy cover, mismatched tracklisting, and overtly political songs. Still, it became their first Gold record, peaking at number twenty one on the US album chart.

'Begin The Begin' starts the album with a nod to Cole Porter in what Stipe calls "a song of personal, political activism."

A philanderer's tie, a murderer's shoe
Life's rich demand creates supply in the hand
Of the powers, the only vote that matters
Silence means security silence means approval
On Zenith, on the TV, tiger run around the tree
Follow the leader, run and turn into butter

'These Days'

"I had a hat and it sunk, reached down,
Yanked it up, slapped it on my head
All the people gather
Fly to carry each his burden
We are young despite the years we are concern
We are hope despite the times
All of the sudden, these days
Happy throngs, take this joy wherever, wherever you go"

'Fall On Me' is about oppression and acid rain. The single peaked at number ninety four on the Billboard Hot 100 and number five on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

"There's the progress we have found (when the rain)
A way to talk around the problem (when the children reign)
Building towered foresight (keep your conscience in the dark)
Isn't anything at all (melt the statues in the park)
Buy the sky and sell the sky and bleed the sky and tell the sky"

'Cuyahoga' refers to an incident on June 22, 1969 when an oil slick and debris in the Cuyahoga River caught fire in Cleveland, Ohio.

"Let's put our heads together, start a new country up,
Underneath the river bed we burned the river down
This is where they walked, swam, hunted, danced and sang,
Take a picture here, take a souvenir"

'Hyena' is a comment on the nuclear arms race.

"The only thing to fear is fearlessness
The bigger the weapon, greater the fear
Hyena is ambassador to here"

'I Believe' addresses the way people embrace contradictory ideas and beliefs.

"When I was young and give and take
And foolish said my fool awake
When I was young and fever fell
My spirit, I will not tell
You're on your honour, on your honour
Trust in your calling, make sure your calling's true
Think of others, the others think of you
Silly rule golden words make practice
Practice makes perfect
Perfect is a fault and fault lines change
I believe my humour's wearing thin
And change is what I believe in"

Bassist Mike Mills sings lead on the cover of the Clique's 'Superman' that closes the album. The single peaked at number seventeen on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

"You don't really love that guy you make it with now do you?
I know you don't love that guy 'cause I can see right through you."

'Lifes Rich Pageant'
full album:

All songs written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe, except as indicated.

Side one – "Dinner side"
"Begin the Begin" – 3:28
"These Days" – 3:24
"Fall on Me" – 2:50
"Cuyahoga" – 4:19
"Hyena" – 2:50
"Underneath the Bunker" – 1:25
Side two – "Supper side"
"The Flowers of Guatemala" – 3:55
"I Believe" – 3:49
"What If We Give It Away?" – 3:33
"Just a Touch" – 3:00
"Swan Swan H" – 2:42
"Superman" (Mitchell Bottler and Gary Zekley) – 2:52

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

bella donna

Thirty years ago Stephanie Lynn Nicks came out of the darkness and made her solo debut with the bewitching 'Bella Donna'. After working with Tom Petty on his 'Hard Promises' album she became involved with producer Jimmy Iovine, who became her manager and boyfriend. Nicks had a number of demos that she had recorded over the years while recording and touring with Fleetwood Mac. Armed with these songs, she went into the studio with Iovine and Petty to record new versions of the songs with session veterans and famous friends. It was the first time she recorded with vocalists Sharon Celani and Lori Perry, who still work with her. 'Bella Donna' went to number one on the album chart and yielded four hit singles.

'Edge Of Seventeen' hit number eleven on the pop chart and number four on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Nicks wrote the song after the deaths of John Lennon and her uncle: "I was in Australia when John Lennon was shot. Everybody was devastated. I didn't know John Lennon, but I knew Jimmy Iovine, who worked with John quite a bit in the '70s, and heard all the loving stories that Jimmy told about him. When I came back to Phoenix I started to write this song. Right when I got to Phoenix, my uncle Bill got cancer, got very sick very fast, and died in a couple of weeks. My cousin John Nicks and I were in the room when he died. There was just John and I there. That was part of the song when I went running down the hallways looking for somebody - I thought where's my mom? Where's his wife and the rest of the family? At that point I went back to the piano and finished the song...It became a song about violent death, which was very scary to me because at that point no one in my family had died. To me, the white-winged dove was for John Lennon the dove of peace, and for my uncle it was the white-winged dove who lives in the saguaro cactus - that's how I found out about the white-winged dove, and it does make a sound like whooo, whooo, whooo. I read that somewhere in Phoenix and thought I would use that in this song. The dove became exciting and sad and tragic and incredibly dramatic. Every time I sing this song I have that ability to go back to that two month period where it all came down. I've never changed it, and I can't imagine ending my show with any other song. It's such a strong, private moment that I share in this song."

"The clouds...never expect it...
When it rains
But the sea changes colours...
But the sea...
Does not change
And so...with the slow...graceful flow..
Of age
I went forth...with an age old... please
'Stop Draggin' My Heart Around' made it to number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number two on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song was written by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell. She sang it with Petty as a duet over the Heartbreakers' demo track. Stevie says: "Jimmy (Iovine) played this song to me while he was still finishing Tom's album; it was one of those songs that Tom was not going to do, and he told Jim that I could do it. I wasn't used to doing other people's songs, so I didn't really like the idea at first, but I loved Tom Petty, so I agreed to try. So we went into the studio and sang it live, together. I was completely entranced, and I instantly fell into love with the song. Duets were the things I loved the most... maybe this was a second beginning. And we would sing like no one else, and nobody else would ever sing like us."

"It's hard to think about
What you've wanted
It's hard to think about what you've lost
This doesn't have to be the big get even
This doesn't have to be anything at all"

The duet with Don Henley 'Leather And Lace' made it to number six on the Billboard pop chart. Stevie recalls: "I wrote this song because Waylon Jennings called me up and asked me to write a song called 'Leather and Lace.' It was to be a duet for him and his wife (Jessi Colter), and I worked very hard trying to explain what it was like to be in love with someone in the same business, and how to approach dealing with each other. It's probably the hardest thing in the world to do because it falls out of your hands and into the hands of the world, which tends to want you to not be able to handle it. I have to tell you now that Mr. Don Henley was pretty much responsible for this song because he came over every day and told me to either start over, or that I was on the right track, and he made me finish it (because I almost gave up many times). When it was finally finished, Don and I made a very simple demo of it - he sang it with me, and it was truly wonderful. And then I found out that Waylon and Jessi were breaking up, and Waylon wanted to just sing it by himself. After all the work I had put into the philosophy of two people dealing with this problem, I told Waylon that only four people in this world could sing this song: he and his wife, or myself and Don Henley. Don and I had been going out for quite awhile, and, bless his heart, he did sing it with me, and again, as fate would have it, it became one of the most special love songs that I would ever write... and remains that, even today, after all these years. All in all, it was an unforgettable experience, as was he. Blame it on my wild heart."

"Is love so fragile...
And the heart so hollow
Shatter with words...
Impossible to follow
You're saying I'm fragile...I try not to be
I search only...for something I can't see
I have my own life...and I am stronger
Than you know
But I carry this feeling
When you walked into my house
That you won't be walking out the door
Still I carry this feeling
When you walked into my house
That you won't be walking out the door"

'After The Glitter Fades' was composed by Nicks back in 1975. The single peaked at number thirty two on the Hot 100. It features Roy Bittan on piano.

"For me... it's the only life
That I've ever known
And love is only one fine star away
Even though the living
Is sometimes laced with lies
It's alright...
The feeling remains
Even after the glitter fades"

'Bella Donna'
full album:

All songs written by Stevie Nicks except where noted.

1. "Bella Donna"   5:21
2. "Kind of Woman"   (Stevie Nicks, Benmont Tench) 3:12
3. "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" (with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) (Tom Petty, Michael Campbell) 4:06
4. "Think About It"   (Stevie Nicks, Roy Bittan) 3:35
5. "After the Glitter Fades" 3:31
6. "Edge of Seventeen"  5:28
7. "How Still My Love" 3:54
8. "Leather and Lace" (with Don Henley) 3:44
9. "Outside the Rain" 4:18
10. "The Highwayman" 4:48

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Peter Gabriel had his biggest hit with this sleek and soulful innuendo. 'Sledgehammer' was the first single from 'So'. The song features a synthesized shakuhachi flute and brass section from the Stax house band The Memphis Horns. The lyrics use bumper cars, speed trains, fruitcages, and the titular sledgehammer as metaphors for sex. The "Big Dipper" is a wooden roller coaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in England. Gabriel says, "Sometimes sex can break through barriers when other forms of communication are not working too well." It knocked 'Invisible Touch' by Genesis out of the top spot when it hit number one in the US. 'Sledgehammer' was nominated for three Grammy Awards: Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year. The innovative stop action claymation video was a collaboration with director Stephen R. Johnson, Adam Whittaker, Aardman Animations, and the Brothers Quay. It won a record nine awards at the MTV Video Awards and set a new standard for art in the music video industry. The extras in the video include Gabriel's daughters Anna and Melanie, the animators, and the director's girlfriend. Gabriel spent sixteen hours under glass during the filming of the video one frame at a time.

You could have a steam train
If you'd just lay down your tracks
You could have an aeroplane flying
If you bring your blue sky back

All you do is call me
I'll be anything you need

You could have a big dipper
Going up and down, all around the bends
You could have a bumper car, bumping
This amusement never ends

I want to be your sledgehammer
Why don't you call my name
Oh let me be your sledgehammer
This will be my testimony
Show me round your fruitcage
'Cause I will be your honey bee
Open up your fruitcage
Where the fruit is as sweet as can be

I want to be your sledgehammer
Why don't you call my name
You'd better call the sledgehammer
Put your mind at rest
I'm gonna be - the sledgehammer
This can be my testimony
I'm your sledgehammer
Let there be no doubt about it

Sledge sledge sledgehammer

I've kicked the habit
Shed my skin
This is the new stuff
I go dancing in, we go dancing in
Oh won't you show for me
And I will show for you
Show for me, I will show for you
Yea, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I do mean you
Only you
You've been coming through
Going to build that power
Build, build up that power, hey
I've been feeding the rhythm
I've been feeding the rhythm
Going to feel that power, build in you
Come on, come on, help me do
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, you
I've been feeding the rhythm
I've been feeding the rhythm
It's what we're doing, doing
All day and night

Monday, July 25, 2011


The Golden Gate Rhythm Section had their most enduring success with this pop rock classic. Journey brought in keyboardist Jonathan Cain to replace Gregg Rolie and he breathed new life into their sound. He co-wrote all of the songs on the album with lead singer Steve Perry, with major contributions from guitarist Neal Schon. Co-produced by Lynyrd Skynyrd soundman Kevin Elson and Queen engineer Mike Stone, 'Escape' (E5C4P3) catapulted the band into the mainstream, reaching number one on the album charts with three top-ten hits, and going nine times platinum.

'Don't Stop Believin'' is the top-selling catalog track in iTunes history, even though it only peaked at number nine on the Billboard chart. Cain based the song on advice from his father, and Perry and Schon helped to turn it into one of the most popular songs of all time.

"Working hard to get my fill,
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin' anything to roll the dice,
Just one more time
Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on"

'Who's Cryin' Now' was written by Cain and Perry. It peaked at number four on the pop chart.

"Only so many tears you can cry
'Til the heartache is over
And now you can say
Your love will never die"

Journey's highest-charting single 'Open Arms' was co-written by Cain and Perry. It held at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 for six consecutive weeks.

"Living without you, living alone
This empty house seems so cold
Wanting to hold you, wanting you near
How much I wanted you home
But now that you've come back
Turned night into day
I need you to stay."

Co-written by Cain, Perry, and Schon, 'Stone In Love' went to number thirteen on the Mainstream Rock chart.

"In the heat with a blue jean girl
Burnin' love comes once in a lifetime
Oo the memories never fade away
Golden girl, I'll keep you forever."

'Still They Ride' was also composed by Cain, Perry, and Schon. It peaked at number nineteen on the pop chart.

"Jesse rides through the night
Under the Main Street light
Ridin' slow
This ol' town, ain't the same
Now nobody knows his name
Times have changed, still he rides."

'Escape' (E5C4P3

full album:

Side one

1. "Don't Stop Believin'"   Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry, Neal Schon 4:11
2. "Stone in Love"   Cain, Perry, Schon 4:26
3. "Who's Crying Now"   Cain, Perry 5:01
4. "Keep On Runnin'"   Cain, Perry, Schon 3:40
5. "Still They Ride"   Cain, Perry, Schon 3:50
Side two
6. "Escape"   Cain, Perry, Schon 5:17
7. "Lay It Down"   Cain, Perry, Schon 4:13
8. "Dead or Alive"   Cain, Perry, Schon 3:21
9. "Mother, Father"   Cain, Joe Perry, S. Perry, Matt Schon, N. Schon 5:29
10. "Open Arms"   Cain, Perry 3:23